State Health Officials Weigh in on this Year’s Flu as Western Kentucky School Closings Continue

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The flu continues to keep many western Kentucky students at home and out of school.

Right now, only Ohio County schools are out for the remainder of the week.

There has been progress, though in most parts of western Kentucky.

We’re told attendance in Hancock County was back up to 91% by Wednesday.

Hancock was the first county to be hit by the flu bug last week.

Ohio County School officials are planning to re-open on Monday.

Is this year’s flu worse than the average season?

It may seem like it, as Ohio, Hancock, Muhlenburg, Todd and Butler, five western Kentucky counties were forced to close their doors in the last week due to illness.

And with what state public health officials call widespread flu making its way across the Bluegrass, you wouldn’t expect them to say this year’s flu is no different than usual.

Dr. Connie White, the Senior Deputy Commissioner at Kentucky Department of Public Health said, “we’re really not seeing it medically being that much different.”

According to Dr. White, the only way to stop the closings is something you may have already heard before.
Getting your flu shot, which is said to have high success rates this year.

Dr. White said, “this year in fact the vaccine that we have has really targeted the viral sub-types that we’re seeing for the flu that covered by the vaccine.”

The other secret- staying home from school or work at the first sign of symptoms.

This is crucial for younger kids between the age of one and ten, who are the most prone to getting the virus.

Dr. White said, “you had to be awful sick to not go to school when I was younger. now we understand better that a sick child can just spread that to their peers and then pretty soon you have a whole classroom that is ill.”

Those first symptoms to come before the well known fever and chills are red eyes, runny nose. fatigue, cough, congestion, and sore throat.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health says it may help to go by the rule of thumb, if your neighbor’s children had these symptoms, would you want your child around them?

For more information on the flu, you can visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/.

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